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Monty Lovering

Weapon damage and special attacks

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I'm playing around with some home-brew rules for combat. They kinda work in any system.

Basically, combat is too linear, all weapons are as good against someone wearing armour, weapon SRs lump too many things together in the same SR, and some weapons are just not as good as others at parrying.

So, one thing I am looking at doing is:

  1. Make special results more varied; so for example, a second roll would determine if it resulted in a second attack with the weapon, a second attack with the hilt, haft or shaft of the weapon, a follow up attempt to knockback, a follow up attempt to grapple, an attempt to disarm an opportunity to choose hit location or a special attack varied by weapon type; spear impale, axes get a second attack that can't be parried after hooking the parrying object aside (which is what aves do very well in real life).
  2. Making most "full-size" one-handed weapons 1d8 damage, and most two-handed weapons 1d10, and giving the weapons that are better against armour +1 or +2, only against armour (axes, spear, maces +1, war hammers +2). So for example, Medium-sized weapons would be 1d6, small 1d4. So a spear one handed would be 1d8+1, two handed 1d10+1, a broadsword would be 1d8, etc..
  3. Increasing the SR range of weapons to 0 to 5 to better reflect speed as well as length. So for example, a broadsword is 3, a rapier 2 and a mace 4.
  4. Give each weapon a multiple for its parry; as in RQG there would be only one skill for a weapon. So for example, a broadsword would have a parry multiple of 1 (so the same as the attack skill) while a one-handed mace would have a parry multiple of 0.5.

This would make weapon choice far more meaningful; swords would be good all-round weapons, spears would be very fast and better against armour than sword, axes slower than swords and not as handy to parry with, but better against armour and with a potential devastating special attack. And combat would have more randomness in it; punches, grapples, disarms, knockbacks. Oh, and secondary weapons would be more important with disarms knockbacks and grapples rendering primary weapons potentially out of use.

Obviously it's a bit more complicated with an extra roll if there's a special but I like combat to be more realistic so I think it's worth it.

What do people think?

Edited by Monty Lovering
Missed a bit

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I'm against it.

1) It complicates an already slow system.

RW combat is fast; whether it be a bar brawl or the blosfechten they do at Swordfish. The third minute of table flipping (the book kind. Flip-the-table is a different sort of excitement) loses the audience/players.

2) RQ combat is stated to be an abstracion of all the feints, binds, mastercuts, parries, blocks, pommel throwing,and ripostes the fighter used to land the blow. Blow by blow detail loses this.

3) It's been tried and found wanting. By many people.

Largely because it slows the game but also because it means that combat pulls focus. The game already has a combat system notorious for its lethality, but also primed to create dramatic hooks.

Your shield strap breaks. The tension of the fight ratchets up. Whereas another round of "I strike and special so now we're going into the bind, my opponent has countered that" actually bores my audience of 10yo boys (the natural demographic for gore-filled combat).

4) It dumps more book-keeping on the GM once again detracting from narration.

5) I'm one of the "many people" I mentioned at #3.

Creating the rules was very satisfying. Applying them was a complete pain; to the point where I came to dread combat because it brought the story to a complete halt while we rolled endless dice.

That said if tracking all this floats your goat and entertains your players, go for it.

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1 hour ago, Rob Darvall said:

Creating the rules was very satisfying. Applying them was a complete pain

LOL yes, this. How many times did I create the Next Big Awesome Combat System when I was a teenager, complete with logarithmic scales and, basically, ever-increasing Strike Ranks to model characters 1.4 times faster than their opponents (I didn't know about RQ or SRs back then so I thought I was a total genius). Of course, I never played with any of those systems because when I finally decided to run some test combat I realized that it was playing very poorly... but yes, it was super fun to design. I guess it's the GM equivalent to players who enjoy creating plenty of new characters that they never play.

But anyway, concerning the OP: yeah, not my cup of tea either, as RQ is near my upper limit for rules complexity. So you would have to ask yourself: are my players able to handle it? Am I able to handle it as the GM? Is it going to make combat more fun? (making it more realistic is only more fun if your players' idea of fun is indeed more realism, which is the case for some people but far from the case for all people).

Now in the spirit of giving constructive feedback:

  1. Special attack roll:
    1. Is that second roll on a table? If so, you can potentially save having to make a second roll. You could for example make a table with exactly 10 entries, and use the attack roll's unit die to determine the special effect. Move the mechanically best/expert results up the table (towards the 8, 9 entries) because people with less than 50% in a skill will never be able to reach them, since their special threshold is less than 10% and therefore they don't access all the unit numbers.
    2. Is it really necessary? Half of what you're talking about is describing something cool, which either the GM or player can do. But the other half is actually mechanically and narratively relevant: if you get a special result which is "knockback" but that sends the enemy flying down a cliff when the player really wanted to kill him to steal an item, that will be annoying -- most likely the GM can say "sure, roll for another special effect" but this is opening a can of worms you may not want to see opened.
  2. Weapon damage:
    1. I'm not sure what you're trying to accomplish here?
    2. Do some weapon get +1/+2 only against armor, and don't get that bonus against unarmored opponents? Are you sure you want to go there? I can see a lot of debates regarding whether the damage bonus applies or not again this or that type of armor (leather, metal, chain, plates, etc.) or natural defense (dragonewt scales, dinosaur skin, etc.). You'd have to figure out exactly what gets those bonuses or not.
  3. Strike Ranks:
    1. As per RAW, weapon SRs are already between 0 and 4. What do you get by increasing the range by 1, except exposing you to arguments with the players about a 1 SR difference between your house rule tables and RAW? Doesn't seem worth it to me, especially when you consider that DEX/SIZ SR are making it all more variable anyway.
  4. Parry multipliers:
    1. I would recommend making your own variant of the character sheet, with extra room to write the pre-computed parry skill score, so as not to further slow down gameplay with players having to make divisions on the fly.
Edited by lordabdul

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Before going too far down this rabbit hole, I'd like to check and see if you have looked at the Mythras (aka RQ6) mechanics for "Combat Effects" or "Special Effects."

It replaces the BRP/RQ Crit & Fumble mechanics.

Often enough, these Effects are more important to the outcome of a fight than any raw "damage" is...

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11 hours ago, Rob Darvall said:

I'm against it.

1) It complicates an already slow system.

RW combat is fast; whether it be a bar brawl or the blosfechten they do at Swordfish. The third minute of table flipping (the book kind. Flip-the-table is a different sort of excitement) loses the audience/players.

2) RQ combat is stated to be an abstracion of all the feints, binds, mastercuts, parries, blocks, pommel throwing,and ripostes the fighter used to land the blow. Blow by blow detail loses this.

3) It's been tried and found wanting. By many people.

Largely because it slows the game but also because it means that combat pulls focus. The game already has a combat system notorious for its lethality, but also primed to create dramatic hooks.

Your shield strap breaks. The tension of the fight ratchets up. Whereas another round of "I strike and special so now we're going into the bind, my opponent has countered that" actually bores my audience of 10yo boys (the natural demographic for gore-filled combat).

4) It dumps more book-keeping on the GM once again detracting from narration.

5) I'm one of the "many people" I mentioned at #3.

Creating the rules was very satisfying. Applying them was a complete pain; to the point where I came to dread combat because it brought the story to a complete halt while we rolled endless dice.

That said if tracking all this floats your goat and entertains your players, go for it.

Oh I love playing around with rules, and indeed, many never see the light of day, or rather than test of play. 🙂 

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8 hours ago, g33k said:

Before going too far down this rabbit hole, I'd like to check and see if you have looked at the Mythras (aka RQ6) mechanics for "Combat Effects" or "Special Effects."

It replaces the BRP/RQ Crit & Fumble mechanics.

Often enough, these Effects are more important to the outcome of a fight than any raw "damage" is...

Yes I looked at Mithras after someone suggested it when I posted the above elsewhere. Not what I am looking for really, but I can see why you would suggest it.

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10 hours ago, lordabdul said:

LOL yes, this. How many times did I create the Next Big Awesome Combat System when I was a teenager, complete with logarithmic scales and, basically, ever-increasing Strike Ranks to model characters 1.4 times faster than their opponents (I didn't know about RQ or SRs back then so I thought I was a total genius). Of course, I never played with any of those systems because when I finally decided to run some test combat I realized that it was playing very poorly... but yes, it was super fun to design. I guess it's the GM equivalent to players who enjoy creating plenty of new characters that they never play.

But anyway, concerning the OP: yeah, not my cup of tea either, as RQ is near my upper limit for rules complexity. So you would have to ask yourself: are my players able to handle it? Am I able to handle it as the GM? Is it going to make combat more fun? (making it more realistic is only more fun if your players' idea of fun is indeed more realism, which is the case for some people but far from the case for all people).

Now in the spirit of giving constructive feedback:

  1. Special attack roll:
    1. Is that second roll on a table? If so, you can potentially save having to make a second roll. You could for example make a table with exactly 10 entries, and use the attack roll's unit die to determine the special effect. Move the mechanically best/expert results up the table (towards the 8, 9 entries) because people with less than 50% in a skill will never be able to reach them, since their special threshold is less than 10% and therefore they don't access all the unit numbers.
    2. Is it really necessary? Half of what you're talking about is describing something cool, which either the GM or player can do. But the other half is actually mechanically and narratively relevant: if you get a special result which is "knockback" but that sends the enemy flying down a cliff when the player really wanted to kill him to steal an item, that will be annoying -- most likely the GM can say "sure, roll for another special effect" but this is opening a can of worms you may not want to see opened.
  2. Weapon damage:
    1. I'm not sure what you're trying to accomplish here?
    2. Do some weapon get +1/+2 only against armor, and don't get that bonus against unarmored opponents? Are you sure you want to go there? I can see a lot of debates regarding whether the damage bonus applies or not again this or that type of armor (leather, metal, chain, plates, etc.) or natural defense (dragonewt scales, dinosaur skin, etc.). You'd have to figure out exactly what gets those bonuses or not.
  3. Strike Ranks:
    1. As per RAW, weapon SRs are already between 0 and 4. What do you get by increasing the range by 1, except exposing you to arguments with the players about a 1 SR difference between your house rule tables and RAW? Doesn't seem worth it to me, especially when you consider that DEX/SIZ SR are making it all more variable anyway.
  4. Parry multipliers:
    1. I would recommend making your own variant of the character sheet, with extra room to write the pre-computed parry skill score, so as not to further slow down gameplay with players having to make divisions on the fly.

Great feedback, thank you.

  1. Special attack roll:
    1. Good idea to roll the separate special table into the main table.
    2. Totally not necessary. And if the enemy with the cool loot goes flying down a cliff, rock on. That's exactly the sort of shit that happens.
  2. Weapon damage:
    1. I'm trying to model pointy and crushy things being better against hard armour than cut things.
    2. The bonus is only against 'hard' armour, although that term is a place holder and it might become 'medium or heavier'. SO not 1 point or 2 point leather or 2 point padding, but everything else, with the GM ruling what a creature's skin counts as.
  3. Strike Ranks:
    1. Oh I'll happily discuss the house rules with players but I'm currently developing for RQ newbies I play Pathfinder with. So they don't know better. I think they will like the crunch and the skill-based progression system. Combat in Pathfinder is superficially simpler due to there being one roll but there are so many exceptions as to what bonus you get when it actual is more complex.
  4. Parry multipliers:
    1. Yeah I'll totally be making or modifying a Char sheet. I have Adobe Pro so it's a synch.

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1 hour ago, Monty Lovering said:

I'm trying to model pointy and crushy things being better against hard armour than cut things.

See what Mythras does there -- I'm not familiar enough with that system to know. As an additional point of reference, I know that GURPS for instance uses post-armour-modifiers. So crushy things do more damage than other weapons, but you take away the armour rating and inflict that on the opponent. Slicy things do less damage, but if that's somehow enough to go through armour (i.e. there's still damage after subtracting the armour rating), then they get a x1.5 or x2 multiplier, meaning that whatever is left after subtracting the armour gets deadly. Some food for thought.

2 hours ago, Monty Lovering said:

Oh I'll happily discuss the house rules with players but I'm currently developing for RQ newbies I play Pathfinder with. So they don't know better.

Make sure you don't overdo it with them -- I would actually recommend you simplify the rules instead of adding house rules. Remember that your players will already have to get used to a different initiative order, to having to roll low instead of high, to not necessarily hit their enemy when they make their attack roll (as the enemy gets a defense roll), and to having to choose their defense maneuvers. Depending on whether the GM handles it or not, they also might have to handle computing special/critical thresholds. Adding more rules for conditional damage and all that might be way too much for some of them, depending on what other games they've played before Pathfinder.  But hey, you know your players, so that's your call -- I have just been bit before by D20 players finding it difficult to go to other systems, so I thought I'd give a friendly warning.

 

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2 hours ago, Monty Lovering said:
  • I'm trying to model pointy and crushy things being better against hard armour than cut things.
  •  

You really need to model this at the weapon level (or weapon type/class). I've never been able to wrap my head around a universal rule for this.

Once you get to full harness (or something similar), weapons don't penetrate (though a critical might find a gap). Concussive effects might be present, though really only an issue at the head level; most of the time this is going to be absorbed by the "padding" layer. The exception to this is really a weapon designed for this situation, the War Hammer, which is designed specifically to overcome this problem. It is a Can Opener.

Mail is really different. While it is unlikely to be penetrated, save by a really good hit, its flexible nature transfers more energy through the material to the wearer. In older versions of the game, this was simulated by such armor only providing half protection against crushing weapons.

SDLeary

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On 2/11/2020 at 3:41 PM, Monty Lovering said:

Yes I looked at Mithras after someone suggested it when I posted the above elsewhere. Not what I am looking for really, but I can see why you would suggest it.

I guess the thing you are looking for is not in the MYTHRAS Core Rulebook.
In the supplement MYTHIC CONSTANTINOPLE are additional, new Weapon traits named Flanged and Puncturing.
These traits and rules are made for your suggestions that pointy and crushy things are better against armour.

In short and to simplify here, both weapon traits enable the weapon to ignore some armour points.
Flanged is for blunt weapons and Puncturing is for pointed ones.
 

Edited by prinz.slasar
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6 hours ago, prinz.slasar said:

I guess the thing you are looking for is not in the MYTHRAS Core Rulebook.
In the supplement MYTHIC CONSTANTINOPLE are additional, new Weapon traits named Flanged and Puncturing.
These traits and rules are made for your suggestions that pointy and crushy things are better against armour.

In short and to simplify here, both weapon traits enable the weapon to ignore some armour points.
Flanged is for blunt weapons and Puncturing is for pointed ones.
 

I like that as a Weapon Trait.  You could have Piercing/Flanged 1 or Piercing/Flanged 2 as the amount of armor protection ignored by that weapon. 

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49 minutes ago, olskool said:

I like that as a Weapon Trait.  You could have Piercing/Flanged 1 or Piercing/Flanged 2 as the amount of armor protection ignored by that weapon. 

Puncturing ignores Armour Points equal to 1/2 of maximum Weapon Damage, but only against rigid armour.

Flanged ignores Armour Points equal to 1/2 of maximum Weapon Damage, but only in case of the Combat special effects Stun Location and Sunder. So in short, it's easier to stun a body location or destroying the opponent's armour with a weapon with the Flanged trait.
 

Edited by prinz.slasar
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From my view, it could be good or bad depending of the table

I consider the rq(x) rules as good for the balance simplicity (it is not super but good for me) and simulation (it is not super but good for me)

Of course, if your table accept less simplicity for more simulation it is a good idea to put more sub-rules.

Another possibility is if your table accept "computer dice" and not "hand dice" then you can create a complex model / algorithm and develop it (of course you need computer skill at say 50% and algorithm lore at 60%)

In this case you have great simplicity : push submit button (and whit not choose wich button depending the situation), and great simulation (at least the level you want)

long ago, I tried (it was a fumble) to read rolemaster rules, it gives a lot of results (very very too too too much much much much results for me with "hand dice")

It may be more reallistic than other (or not, complexity doesn't equal simulation)

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17 hours ago, prinz.slasar said:

I guess the thing you are looking for is not in the MYTHRAS Core Rulebook.
In the supplement MYTHIC CONSTANTINOPLE are additional, new Weapon traits named Flanged and Puncturing.
These traits and rules are made for your suggestions that pointy and crushy things are better against armour.

In short and to simplify here, both weapon traits enable the weapon to ignore some armour points.
Flanged is for blunt weapons and Puncturing is for pointed ones.
 

Yeah, that's kinda of what I want, but I think I'm just going to handle it with a damage + on a dice for weapons that are better at penetrating armour that only counts vs armour.

And all weapons would just get a set die or dice of damage, no plus, normally. And damage bonus would come down to simple pluses rather than whole die.

This stops, foe example, daggers doing 4 damage minimum if you have a damage bonus, which is just not right.

And it makes it easier than traits, which are kind of deal with by my specials table.

So what I am boiling it down to is:

Criticals do double WEAPON damage or ignore armour, whichever is more damage.

Specials are resolved on a table with a result according to weapon type (varying between a follow-up attack with the dominant hand or offhand, or a weapon specific weapon effect, such as axes pulling shields aside and allowing attacks with no parry from the SR of the axe blow to the end of the round (and that means if it happens on SR7, someone fighting with the axeman can change intent and attack the target who can't parry, which is exactly why axes were so cool). I have a d6 table with columns for Slash, Impale, Crush, Articulated, Shield, Brawling, Axe, 2H Pole and Missile.

And if someone hits with say a war hammer which is 1d8+3 on leather they do a d8, it they hit someone with plate they still do a d8 but ignore 3 points of armour.

Of course, after play testing I might junk it and go raw.

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Weapon scale in combination with damage bonus is interesting. In a sense big weapons are double-dippping because they have big damage, but the thing that is big enough to use it also necessarily has a big bonus.

I wonder if weapon damage might be better done (almost certainly not but I'll carry on anyway) by primarily basing it on a STR&SIZ damage calculation, maybe with a reduction for weapons that are smaller than the maximum or optimum size for the wielder. So you don't need to figure out what a 15m giant sized broadsword does - it's broadsword-sized for the giant, so it does base giant damage, maybe plus something for being a sharp metal thing. Giant wielding a tree? No need to worry about tree damage. Giant damage covers it.

If the damage is a table like the current system, different weapons could just have a bonus or reduction of a number of levels on the table. And the weapons chart doesn't need different damage for different sizes of the same kind of weapon, a big sword does more damage because the wielder is big enough to use it. Sharp, spiky, or solid weapons deserve a bonus, soft or weak weapons like sticks or bare fists might have a penalty.

Edited by PhilHibbs

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2 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

Weapon scale in combination with damage bonus is interesting. In a sense big weapons are double-dippping because they have big damage, but the thing that is big enough to use it also necessarily has a big bonus.

I wonder if weapon damage might be better done (almost certainly not but I'll carry on anyway) by primarily basing it on a STR&SIZ damage calculation, maybe with a reduction for weapons that are smaller than the maximum or optimum size for the wielder. So you don't need to figure out what a 15m giant sized broadsword does - it's broadsword-sized for the giant, so it does base giant damage, maybe plus something for being a sharp metal thing. Giant wielding a tree? No need to worry about tree damage. Giant damage covers it.

If the damage is a table like the current system, different weapons could just have a bonus or reduction of a number of levels on the table. And the weapons chart doesn't need different damage for different sizes of the same kind of weapon, a big sword does more damage because the wielder is big enough to use it. Sharp, spiky, or solid weapons deserve a bonus, soft or weak weapons like sticks or bare fists might have a penalty.

I did this with my weapons.  Every weapon has a STR, DEX, and SIZ requirement.  I have weapons with the trait HEAVY doing +1 damage for every 5 surplus STR over the required STR.  Weapons with the LIGHT trait do +1 damage for every 10 points of surplus STR over the required STR for that weapon.  I allow an add of +1 to the character's base STR for every 10 points of SIZ over 10 that character has.  Weapons with the FINESSE trait may also add any surplus DEX over the required DEX for that weapon.  

 

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